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The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

The WCH Child Development Unit (CDU) is a developmental assessment service for children with complex developmental concerns in three or more areas.

The WCH Child Development Unit (CDU) is a Developmental Assessment Service providing a multi-disciplinary approach to children with complex developmental concerns in three or more areas, and also provides support for their families.

How to access this service

All referrals must be completed using the CDU Referral Form.

Who can refer to CDU?
  • Medical Professionals (General Practitioners, Paediatricians, Medical Officers, Specialists)
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • Care/Education via Leadership Team in consultation with Support Services eg. Speech Pathology, Psychology or DECD Special Educator, Catholic Education / Association of Independent Schools SA Special Education Consultants/Advisors. Reports documenting this consultation must be provided.

Please note: If a child is referred by an allied health professional or educator, the CDU process can begin. However, if a paediatric appointment is required, the child will also need a GP referral.

Does the child meet our criteria of 3 or more areas of developmental concern?

CDU Criteria

  • Fine motor problems (handwriting, cutting, manipulation and dexterity)
  • Gross motor problems (locomotor, ball skills, coordination, climbing, motor planning)
  • Speech and language problems (excluding stuttering)
  • Sensory processing issues (sensitivities or sensory seeking behaviours)
  • Socialisation problems (not relating to peers, poor play skills, poor non-verbal skills, conversation skills, reduced eye contact)
  • Behaviours as listed:
    • repetitive behaviours/play, need for routines/rituals, obsessive interests. Inflexibility, unusual posturing of the body/movement patterns, unusual use of language
    • Children >5 years – inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive behaviours, poor planning and organisation
  • Problems with self-care skills (dressing, feeding self, toileting – excluding constipation)
  • Learning difficulties (reading, spelling, maths or all).

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term used for a spectrum of conditions caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.

Referrals for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder require the FASD Referral Appendix completed with the CDU Referral Form. This form can be obtained from our web page or contact our Unit to request the FASD Referral Appendix via

CDU does not accept referrals if:

  • Patients reside outside of CDU catchment area (unless outside of accepted age range for catchment)
  • There is a single area of concern
  • CDU referral form is not used.
Referral acceptance

Referral to the CDU will allow an information gathering process to begin but referral acceptance and allocation of appointments is only determined following completion of this referral, parent and/or school questionnaires (if required) and CDU review of the information provided.

Catchment areas

Acceptance of referrals is subject to catchment areas which are defined for the three assessments units. If you are unsure of the appropriate unit, please call any of the numbers on the Catchment Area Map for assistance.

  • Women's and Children's Hospital – Child Development Unit
    (08) 8161 7287
  • Flinders Medical Centre – Child Assessment Team
    (08) 8204 4433
  • Lyell McEwin Hospital – Gordon McKay Child Development Unit
    (08) 7485 4109

Further information

Non-Medicare families

Please note that charges apply to services provided to patients who do not hold a Medicare Card. If the family does not have a Medicare Card, please contact the hospital’s finance team on 8161 7390 to discuss likely costs.

Waiting times

Autism Diagnostic Assessments have a waiting time of approximately 14–18 months. Please note once a child is referred the family and referrer will receive correspondence from the CDU. If you have not heard from the CDU following a referral (usually contact within 6 weeks from receipt of referral) please contact to make sure referral has been received.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating your way through the CDU process can be confusing. The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document below answers the most common questions and enquiries regarding referral, assessment and post diagnostic care.


For Health Professionals

Referral forms for the Child Development Unit can be found on the following page: